Immediately after I made the reservation both of our cars broke down. It's like our cars sit out there and conspire against us, choosing to have issues at the same time. We got ourselves a rental car, but the only one that was available was a Jeep Patriot. This was not our first choice, but it was what they had available, so we took it and Friday afternoon we set off for Buhl, Idaho. We had just exited the freeway when Justin dropped the directions to the hot springs between the two seats. He asked me to reach between the seats to see if I could retrieve them. I couldn't, because my ring was getting in the way. I went to take off the diamond, but accidentally pulled the wedding band off too, which slipped off and immediately fell into the emergency brake. Okay, that doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was because it fell into the emergency brake. I didn't even know such a thing was possible. It was quite upsetting. In the end the car rental place took it to a mechanic who ripped apart the middle console, couldn't find it and said that to continue retrieval efforts they would have to dismantle the brake at a cost that did not seem reasonable. Additionally there was still a possibility that the ring had actually fallen out of the car. We decided that it made more sense to just replace the ring. It wasn't quite how I had planned to celebrate five years of marriage. I guess nothing will say "I still love you five years later" like a new wedding ring. Besides, I'm starting to consider this an opportunity to replace it with something a little fancier this time. We will see...
The good news is that I was able to get the directions out and despite a key road closure due to a collapsed bridge, Justin still navigated us to the bunkhouse at Banbury Hot Springs. The bunkhouse was actually pretty great. It was small, but so is our little family. It's equipped with a space heater, so we turned that on to get the place warming up and left to go check out the hot springs. I could instantly see why the reservation clerk had emphasized repeatedly that we could still swim at Miracle hot springs. I'm sure Banbury is fine, but Miracle is much nicer. We decided to go that route. If you're staying at the resort the swimming fee is included. However, for an additional $4 we could book an hour in a "private pool." We decided that we should try that out, see how it goes. So we did, and we're not sorry. Now when they say "small private pool" they do mean small. You're not going to be doing any kind of laps in this pool.
|Ivan spent most of our hour quietly napping on the bench of our private dressing room.|
After our hour in the private pool we went over to the large public pools. There are four of them, at varying degrees of warmth. Justin and Vivian spent the evening playing around in the coolest one, which is neck deep on me, and perfect temperature for small children. Had the temperature outside not dropped into the 30's I probably would have taken Ivan in with me. After the sun went down the whole place got incredibly steamy, and it was actually hard to even see what was going on in the pool at all from my spot on the bench with Ivan. Justin reported to me later that the pools turned into a big makeout spot as it got darker. Nothing about that is shocking, but the part that left us surprised is that these PDA offenders looked to be in their fifties. Late fifties. Not just one couple, several. All over each other according to Justin. There in the midst of them was Vivian in her little water wings splashing around with her dad.
Justin and Vivian seemed to thoroughly enjoy their evening in the pool. We finally left and got Justin's birthday dinner (I guess I should add that his birthday is the day before our anniversary) at what I believe to be the only steakhouse nearby, the Snake River Grill, and it was surprisingly good.
|Ivan and his dad in the dressing room|
Our night in the bunkhouse was uneventful. It was situated out in the campground area, away from any other buildings or people, which did give it kind of a weird vulnerable feeling, but we kind of enjoyed the isolation. The next morning we returned to Miracle Hot Springs to check out their resident alligator. Vivian had been begging to see it ever since we'd made mention of it the previous day.
After that I took a turn splashing around in the pools with Vivian and we learned that the best time to visit these pools is early. The pools were pretty empty when we first arrived around 9am (they open at 8am), and by the time we left an hour later the number of people there had easily tripled and there were more arriving all the time.
It's not our typical vacation destination, but we definitely enjoyed it. The subsequent visit to Boise provided a perfect escape for the holiday weekend. I've warned Justin to prepare himself because this will not be the last time I drag him out to a hot springs destination. I have already been plotting a visit to Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville, Utah. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about the experience, and I can't wait to send Vivian down their water slide. It's proximity to Logan makes me view it as a "must" while we are still living here.
|that's one of the camping domes in the background. They looked pretty nice.|
|She wanted to know why the alligator was smiling at her.|
|In one of the smaller, warmer pools that Vivian liked because there was a bench that she could roam around on without having to be clinging to me the whole time.|
|In the biggest pool|